Letter: National stadium: a national disaster

POSTED: 02/7/12 4:08 PM

Dear Editor,

I’ve kept silent long enough. Football has already been stagnated on St. Maarten. The Raoul Illidge Sports Complex has been in a terrible state for years! I grew up playing football on that field. It hurts to see that things aren’t done the right way to get the venue operating. The youth get into negative situations, because there is nothing productive for them to do.

It stated in the article that the decision to re-open the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex was reached by the management board and the caretaker. My questions are: Who is on this board? Where has the board been? Is the caretaker on a salary? What is the minister’s say in this decision? To me, it seems like the caretaker is the grounds man, bartender, coach, tournament organizer, contractor, and almost owner. Government, I am begging you to take action. This is abuse to the public. For the sake of youth, and sports on St. Maarten!

This is real talk. Only the track is to be used? Seriously? The track is so bad they should build a walkway over it to get across to the field from the stands! As long as I can remember playing on that field, it was not player friendly. I know of players, and friends getting injured on the field just by stepping in the wrong spot. Stop lying to us. Stop telling the public you will do A when you are doing B! It’s killing our society, and athletes!

We have a lot of local talent on this island when it comes to sports, but little to nothing is being done to expose the kids, to get them out of a bad neighborhood, and into a new environment where they can excel in their talent and become somebody! I remember watching and taking part in the Kingdom Games, playing in St. Maarten selection games and school tournaments on that field. Now the national stadium is a national disaster. Real talk!

I’ve studied abroad for 5 years, and was on a Junior Varsity squad for my college as well. Upon coming back to St. Maarten in May of 2011, I went to the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex for a training session, and I was shocked when I walked in there. The place looked abandoned, and run down. I stood and looked around in disbelief. Now I see the difference, having played and studied abroad. One man is running the place, and not an association like how it is supposed to be. One man decides when it closes, and when it opens. One man decides to turn the lights off while people are on the track walking. Again, I emphasize that the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex is government-run, yet it is run by one man. No wonder football has been stagnated for years, and sports in general.

The title of the article was that the complex is set to re-open to the public. I think that should include all other sports associations, foundations, and clubs. Not just the teams that participate in the interscholastic tournament. That’s crazy! So you decide who uses the field or not?

There has to be equal opportunity! Having only the interscholastic teams use the field, and say that there are too many teams and not enough grounds is a lame excuse. Stop lying to us! We’ve made it work in the past, so let’s make it work better now. This is greed, plain and simple. Let ALL the kids play ball. Let ALL the adults play ball. Everybody has to suffer because of one man’s ignorance and stubborn attitude. Real talk! Who is the person, or who are the people responsible for deciding who uses the field, and carrying out this decision?

The situation is out of control, and government should take control immediately! I don’t have anything against anybody. I am not looking to back up, or bring down anybody. Some people who are reading this article may know me. The caretaker will read this for sure. We know each other for years. I’m writing this because it is about right and wrong. What is going on, and has been going on for years is wrong! The right thing to do is for government to intervene, and make the situation better. Upgrading of the complex can bring additional tourism and income to the island through international events like inter-Caribbean tournaments. These are my thoughts, and my words. It isn’t football alone that has been stagnated on St. Maarten, but also youth development.

Jason M. Lindo

Note: The Raoul Illidge Sports Complex is owned and managed by a private foundation and not by the government as Lindo states in this letter.

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